Learning from Fail: Delete embarrassing social media posts

This is a fantastic way to avoid getting publicly humiliated and written up in this blog.  You might remember Ethan Czahor, who was briefly hired by the Jeb Bush campaign as the Chief Technical Officer, only to be forced to resign after a series of embarrassing social media posts went public.  Czahor, to his infinite credit, has used the experience to hopefully help others avoid making the same mistake.  He’s doing this through the launch of a new app: Clear.

The app is in Beta right now, which means it’s being tested.  I signed up and a message told me there are over 16,000 people ahead of me, so good for Clear!

Anyway, from the app’s description, here’s how the app will work.  First, it connects (privately) with your social media accounts – specifically Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  From there, the app performs “complex analysis” on all your posts, flags potentially offensive content, and gives you the opportunity to delete it.

My only concern about an app like this is that it could give people a false sense of security, in two ways:

  1. No computer or algorithm can get every context, and this could miss potentially offensive content.  To that end, if someone relies on this program, not a thorough, manual review, they could have a false sense of security.
  2. This app could spur people to think, “Oh, hey, I’ll just go nuts and delete later,” neglecting to realize that digital can be forever and someone can get a screenshot of offensive content long before it is deleted.

That being said, if viewed properly (another tool in the toolbox), this app can be a great way to checking old content and removing anything potentially offensive.  More to the point, good for Czahor!  He not only learned from his mistakes, but he’s trying to help others prevent making the same ones.

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